You probably heard of the term Will quite a number of times when any topic of Succession Planning arises. In fact, in the earlier units of this module, there are many occurrences where you read about Will. It is a very important concept when it comes to Succession Planning. So, without any further ado, in this section, let us discuss the concept of Will:
What is a Will?
A will is a legal document that expresses a person's wishes, who is known as the testator as to how their property or the estate is to be distributed after their death.
Simply put, a Will is a written document in which an individual specifies how his/her wealth should be distributed or utilized after death.
Benefits of writing a Will:
- Provides the testator an understanding of his/her current financial status and even an opportunity to improve in the remaining life span.
- Brings clarity about passing of assets among loved ones.
- Avoids disputes within the family and ensures proper distribution is done thus preventing financial and legal hassles later on.
- Enables provisioning for minor children and children with special needs as per your wish
- Possible to Enables to disinherit some relatives who are troublemakers
- Helps address transfer of digital assets
- Helps address transfer of offshore assets
- Can specify funeral wishes
- Can specify wish to donate organs
- Ensures peace of mind and happiness
We will focus on some of the disadvantages of not writing a will in the next unit.
Who can make a Will and when?
- Any person who is above the age of 18 is eligible to make a Will. He should be of sound mind i.e., capable of understanding his actions and should be free of any influence at the time of writing the Will.
- As soon as a person is 18 years old he should write a Will. As we live in uncertain times where people meet untimely death due to accidents, heart ailments or other lifestyle diseases and even terror attacks.
- Do not wait to create lots of assets / wealth till you turn old like 60 – 65 years of age. Because many times people in their old age suffer from physical and mental illness, sometimes they lose their capability to understand. If will is created at such an age when a person is not in his proper senses may create doubts, misunderstanding and disputes in the family later on.
- Therefore, there is no specific age when you should make a Will.
As long as you're a major. But in the following circumstances you must consider making a Will right away–
- Married or in a relationship
- Started a family
- A situation of divorce or remarriage
- Terminal Illness